On March 28, the Inclusive Dubuque Network hosted its third community conversation at Steeple Square. The conversations were created to create a safe space where community members could engage in active conversation while feeling safe, respected, and valued. The topic of this conversation was focused on the well-being of youth in our community.
Washington Middle School’s Moxi Squad, a group made up of students, joined in on this particular conversation. The Moxi Squad first took the large group through an activity about how to build community. The group circled up and was given a ball of yarn. The Moxi Squad asked the group to say what positive aspects can help build community. The first individual was given a ball of yarn and was asked to throw it to another individual across the circle. This continued on and created a web. The group was then asked yell out negative aspects that can break down community. Each time a negative item was called out, one of the Moxi Squad students would cut the string symbolizing how community can be broken down so easily. It was a powerful, visual message that segued into the heart of the conversation.
The Moxi Squad students then facilitated the conversation by posing the following questions:
– What is working for the youth in our community? Why?
– What is not working for youth in our community? Why?
– How can we fill the gaps?
Each table member had an allotted two minutes to answer the questions one by one. This process is meant to ensure that all voices at the table are being heard; so no one, or two people are controlling the flow of conversation. After about a half an hour of discussion, the group came back as a whole to go over important and favorite topics amongst each table.
We learned as a group how important it is to have children at these types of conversation, as they provide a new insight to proposing change, especially when regarding youth. Interesting ideas like hosting community block parties, most beautiful lawn challenges, and recognizing how there are gaps in activities for youth not interested in sports, all were brought to the forefront of our minds. We now have the knowledge to utilize this information for the betterment of the community.
Productive conversations, like the Community Conversations hosted by the Inclusive Dubuque Network, are vital to understanding the needs of the community. Please join us for the next Community Conversation on Tuesday, May 2, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at Steeple Square in downtown Dubuque. This conversation will be focused on faith in our community.